Use and re-use of digital government information
If citizens had full, unencumbered, access to digital versions of government information, it could actually change the way government works. Three recent items highlight this.
Letâ€™s recall that, just last month, Congress had to rework a $388 billion appropriations measure because somebody slipped in a provision that would have allowed Appropriations Committee staffers to look at confidential IRS records.
By the time that â€œmistakeâ€ was discovered, House members had already passed the spending bill. They had to return to Washington, rework the legislation and vote again to fix the mistake. This could have been avoided if the bill had been posted to the Web beforehand.
Instead, we would have had numerous taxpayers combing through the bill. Bloggers would have found the provision, talk-radio hosts would have amplified their comments, and voters would have complained to their representatives.
This same process would allow us to identify and eliminate wasteful spending measures before they become law.
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